Tag Archives: California

Almanac – February 24

1909 – August Derleth born. American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first publisher of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own contributions to the so-called Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror, as well as his founding of the publisher Arkham House (which did much to bring supernatural fiction into print in hardcover in the US that had only been readily available in the UK), Derleth was a leading American regional writer of his day, as well as prolific in several other genres, including historical fiction, poetry, detective fiction, science fiction and biography.

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1942 – The Battle of Los Angeles, also known as The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, was the name given by contemporary sources to the rumored enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place from late 24 February to early 25 February 1942 over Los Angeles, California.

The incident occurred less than three months after the United States entered World War II as a result of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and one day after the Bombardment of Ellwood on 23 February.

Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the incident a “false alarm.” Newspapers of the time published a number of reports and speculations of a cover-up.

Some modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft.

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Almanac – January 20

St. Agnes Eve

Ladies – if you want to dream the identity of your future husband, try this St Agnes Eve spell…

You must fast and keep silent all day and do not allow anyone to kiss you.

[Obviously, by the time you read this you’ll probably have eaten, spoke or kissed someone – maybe all three if you’re lucky. So you might want to save the info for next  St Agnes Eve ].

At bedtime, don your best nightdress and then hard-boil an egg.

Remove the yolk from the egg and fill the space with salt.

Eat egg [shell, salt and all].

Then walk backwards to bed, chanting:

“Fair St Agnes, play thy part
And send to me my own sweetheart
Not in his best or worst array
But in the clothes he wears every day”

[That last line sounds a bit out – “each day” would fit better…everyone’s a critic]

Anyway, you should then dream of your intended. But you must tell no-one of your dream.

This last condition makes it virtually impossible to estimate success rates for the experiment.

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1899 – Clarice Cliff born. English ceramic industrial artist active from 1922 to 1963.

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1900 – Colin Clive born. English stage and screen actor best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in James Whale‘s two Universal Frankenstein films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

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1929 – In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, was released. Directed by Irving Cummings and Raoul Walsh, the film was based on the character of the Cisco Kid in the story The Caballero’s Way by O. Henry.

The film made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and the San Fernando Mission and the Mojave Desert in California.
It was also instrumental in developing the image of the singing cowboy, with its star, Warner Baxter, singing My Tonia.

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1946 – David Lynch born.  American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor, known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed “Lynchian“, a style characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. Eraserhead, Dune, The Elephant Man and Twin Peaks, among others, are his.

As he says – “I look at the world and I see absurdity all around me. People do strange things constantly, to the point that, for the most part, we manage not to see it. That’s why I love coffee shops and public places – I mean, they’re all out there.”

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1965 – Alan Freed died. American disc jockey. He became internationally known for promoting the mix of blues, country and rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll. His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

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2012 – Etta James died. American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz.

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January 20, 2013 · 17:17

Almanac – January 08

1697Last execution for blasphemy in Britain; of Thomas Aikenhead, student, at Edinburgh. He had been indicted in December 1696, the indictment reading:

That … the prisoner had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that theology was a rhapsody of ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the moral doctrines of philosophers, and partly of poetical fictions and extravagant chimeras: That he ridiculed the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra’s fables, in profane allusion to Esop’s Fables; That he railed on Christ, saying, he had learned magick in Egypt, which enabled him to perform those pranks which were called miracles: That he called the New Testament the history of the imposter Christ; That he said Moses was the better artist and the better politician; and he preferred Muhammad to Christ: That the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them: That he rejected the mystery of the Trinity as unworthy of refutation; and scoffed at the incarnation of Christ.

Thomas Babington Macaulay said of Aikenhead’s death that “the preachers who were the poor boy’s murderers crowded round him at the gallows, and. . . insulted heaven with prayers more blasphemous than anything he had uttered.”

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 1843 – Frederick Abberline born. A Chief Inspector for the London Metropolitan Police and was a prominent police figure in the investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888. As such he’s been represented (sometimes not very authentically) in numerous works of literature, cinema and television.

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1880 – Joshua A. Norton died. The self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco, California, who in 1859 proclaimed himself  Emperor of the United States  and subsequently Protector of Mexico. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented.

Norton collapsed at a street corner, and died before he could be given medical treatment. The following day, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage.

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1896 – Paul Verlaine died. French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.

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1897 – Dennis Wheatley born. English author whose prolific output of stylish thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world’s best-selling writers from the 1930s through the 1960s. His Gregory Sallust series was one of the main inspirations for Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories, but he’s perhaps better known for titles such as The Devil Rides Out, To The Devil – A Daughter, and  The Ka of Gifford Hillary. He even had a crack at the nascent UFO market (Star Of Ill-Omen, 1952).

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1935 – Elvis Presley born.

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1947 – David Bowie born.

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1948 – Kurt Schwitters died. German painter who  worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as installation art.

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1981 – A local farmer reported a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, claimed to be “perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time”.  

Renato Nicolaï, a fifty-five year-old farmer, heard a strange whistling sound while performing agricultural work on his property. He then saw a saucer-shaped object about eight feet in diameter land about 50 yards (46 m) away at a lower elevation.

According to the witness, “The device had the shape of two saucers, one inverted on top of the other. It must have measured about 1.5 meters in height. It was the color of lead. This device had a ridge all the way around its circumference. Under the machine I saw two kinds of pieces as it was lifting off. They could be reactors or feet. There were also two other circles which looked like trapdoors. The two reactors, or feet, extended about 20 cm below the body of the machine.”

Nicolaï claimed the object took off almost immediately, rising above the treeline and departing to the north east. It left burn marks on the ground where it had sat.

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Almanac – October 20

1854 – Arthur Rimbaud born.  French poet. Born in Charleville, Ardennes, he produced his works while still in his late teens—Victor Hugo described him at the time as “an infant Shakespeare”—and he gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 20. As part of the decadent movement, Rimbaud influenced modern literature, music, and arts, and prefigured surrealism.

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1882 – Bela Lugosi born.  Hungarian actor, who is best known for playing the character “Dracula” in the 1931 film and for his roles in various other horror films. Through the 1930s, he occupied an important niche in popular horror films, with their East European setting, but his Hungarian accent limited his repertoire, and he tried unsuccessfully to avoid typecasting.

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1937 – Wanda Jackson born. American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 1960s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock and roll artist. She is known to many as the Queen (or First Lady) of Rockabilly.

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1947 – The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.

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1967 – A purported Bigfoot is filmed by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in the Six Rivers National Forest outside of Crescent City, California.

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Almanac – August 7

1560 – Elizabeth Báthory born.  A countess of the  Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. Although the number of murders is debated, she has been labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the “Blood Countess.”

After her husband Ferenc Nádasdy’s death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia and known as Čachtice, where she remained bricked up  in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins  in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad  the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

1876 – Mata Hari born as Margaretha Geertruida  Zelle , better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy  who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.

1930 – The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurred –  in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were killed. They had been arrested the night before, charged with robbing and murdering a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and raping his white girlfriend, Mary Ball. A large crowd broke into the jail with sledgehammers, beat the two men, and hanged them. When Abram Smith tried to free himself from the noose as his body was hauled up by the rope, he was lowered and then his arms broken to prevent him from trying to free himself again. Police officers in the crowd cooperated in the lynching.

1947 – Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America.

1965 – The infamous first Reyes party between Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hells Angels took place at Kesey’s estate in La Honda, California introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking the hippie movement to the Hell’s Angels.

1984 – Esther Phillips died.  American singer,  known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul.

 

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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